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Harrison Street Moves Nearly $2B in Student Housing in Two Separate Portfolio Sales to GSA and Scion

Highly Complex Transactions Comprise 37 Properties and ~24,000 Beds Across 19 States and 31 Universities

Highlights Harrison Street’s Student Housing Sector Expertise, Deep Relationships, and Portfolio Execution Ability Harrison Street Has Acquired Nearly $1.4 Billion in Student Housing in 2021

November 30, 2021 10:03 AM Eastern Standard Time

CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Harrison Street, one of the leading investment management firms exclusively focused on alternative real assets, today announced the sale of two student housing portfolios for a combined $1.9 billion. Highlights of the transactions include:

  • Portfolio of 12 properties and 8,182 beds across 12 universities sold to Global Student Accommodation (“GSA”). The properties were owned by three distinct Harrison Street funds and four co-invest vehicles in conjunction with multiple operating partners.

  • Portfolio of 25 properties and 15,817 beds across 19 universities sold to a joint venture affiliated with The Scion Group (“Scion”). The assets were owned across four separate Harrison Street funds and three co-invest vehicles in conjunction with multiple operating partners.

Christopher Merrill, Harrison Street’s Co-Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, said, “The two large-scale transactions reflect Harrison Street’s longstanding strategy of acquiring or developing individual assets at leading universities, executing on defined business plans, and exiting via strategic portfolio sales. GSA and Scion are among the world’s most sophisticated and well-respected real estate investors and operators, and these dispositions are emblematic of our strong student housing track record and ability to create value for our investors and partners.”

Merrill added, “Importantly, I am incredibly proud of our world-class team which has been working diligently for over a year on these highly complex portfolio dispositions that involved multiple partners and numerous counterparties, and closed within a four day span of each other. We remain committed to providing high quality student housing facilities to universities across the U.S. and in attractive European markets backed by strong demographics.”

Harrison Street continues to be a strong supporter of the purpose-built student housing market having invested in 190,000 beds throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe since inception. As of September 30, 2021, the firm has acquired nearly $1.4 billion in student housing assets this year at leading institutions such as Arizona State University, Cornell University, University of North Carolina and University of Calgary. Since inception, Harrison Street has invested approximately $17 billion across 357 properties in education and student housing assets. Additionally, the firm has sold more than 173 student housing properties for a gross transaction value of approximately $7 billion.

Further, Harrison Street is a market leading private investor in public-private-partnerships (P3) having invested $3.6 billion in serving education, healthcare, and government users. The firm’s higher education P3 portfolio totals over 20 colleges and universities complimenting its off-campus portfolio at over 174 universities.

In December 2017, Harrison Street sold a 22-property student housing portfolio to a joint venture formed by Scion, GIC, and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board for approximately $1 billion.

Harrison Street and GSA also have a longstanding relationship. First partnering in December 2015, the firms have since acquired 27 properties across 8,600 beds together in the U.K., Ireland, and Spain.

Both transactions were brokered on the sell-side by Peter Katz and Institutional Property Advisors.

About Harrison Street Harrison Street is one of the leading investment management firms exclusively focused on alternative real assets. Since inception in 2005, the firm has created a series of differentiated investment solutions focused on demographic-driven, needs-based assets. The firm has invested across senior housing, student housing, healthcare delivery, life sciences and storage real estate as well as social and utility infrastructure. Headquartered in Chicago with offices in San Francisco, London and Toronto, the firm has more than 200-employees and approximately $39 billion in assets under management. Clients of the firm include a global institutional investor base domiciled in North America, Europe, Middle East, Asia and Latin America. Harrison Street has been awarded Best Places to Work by Pensions & Investments for the last seven consecutive years and was named 2020 Global Alternatives Investor of the Year by PERE. For more information, please visit

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